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[edit] Status of this Document

This wiki page describes what is happening and what is planned for the policy manual.

Feedback is requested on an on-going basis from the President and the Secretary (and you if you're interested!), however because of the continuing editing of this wiki page, its contents should not be considered to be anything more than a draft.

As with other wiki pages, you can see the date of the last change above.

[edit] History

In the spring of 2004, BJ Kaleta, then SAR Alberta Secretary, asked Brett Wuth to compile the current policies of SAR Alberta into a manual available to the SAR Alberta board. This page documents that effort.

BJ sent to Brett Wuth 2 banker's boxes of Secretary material. Brett is to review the boxes to identify material that describes SAR Alberta policies that is not available otherwise.

[edit] What will go into the Policy Manual

A policy is a plan of action for a general situation. It states that under certain circumstances, specified actions should occur. For instance, one policy might read that prior to an Annual General Meeting a request for nominations shall be sent to the membership. Plans that have been developed for specific circumstances aren't general and so aren't policies. For instance, a plan on where to host the next conference is not a policy; a plan on how to decide locations for future conferences would be a policy.

On any given topic, several plans may be considered. The accepted plan may be replaced by another. All the plans are policies but typically only one or a small set of interlocking plans are the current authorized policies. The Board and the Membership should be most interested in authorized policies, so the priority should be to include those in the policy manual.

Over the years, the Bylaws and Policies Committee has brought to the Board a number of policy recommendations as part of a policy issue document that include proposed policies which became the authorized policies, along with alternate policies and an analysis of the merits for the various choices. This thorough handling of a policy issue provides a background that justifies and explains the current authorized policy. It also captures information that will be helpful if the issue is ever reconsidered with an eye to adopting a different authorized policy. When available, policy issue documents will be included in the policy manual. The Bylaw and Policy Committee should be encouraged to continue to prepare policy issues in this fashion.

It would be next to impossible for one person to take an authorized policy that doesn't have a policy issue document associated with it and to create such a document. Any such effort would inevitably miss some of the important context and rationales. The policy manual will not attempt to include policy discussions where they have not already been provided in a policy issue document.

Under the Alberta Societies Act and the Bylaws, the authorities that put into effect authorized policies fall into the following hierarchy:

   Alberta and Canadian Laws and Regulations
   SAR Alberta Bylaws
   Resolutions of the General Membership
   Resolutions of the Board
       |                        |
   Executive Committee   Other Board Committees (Nominations, Bylaw & Policy)
        |     |       |          |          |                |
   President  VP  Secretary  Treasurer  Past Pres   Executive Committees (Standards, Conference, etc.)

Each level delegates some responsibility to the level below. Sometimes the lower level are delegated the authority to establish policies. E.g., the Treasurer may have set the authorized policy on when charitable receipts will be issued. Any of the higher levels have the option to take back their authority and set a new authorized policy.

In the initial version of the policy manual, policies created below the level of the Board will not be included, because they generally:

  • are very specific (they could be described more as procedures

and practices rather than plans)

  • have not been recorded in writing
  • are easily changedAt a later time, if more formality is placed on some of the

policies generated by the lower levels, it may be appropriate to include them in future revisions of the the policy manual.

Authorized policies which are set by legislation and regulations are too broad to be repeated in the policy manual. They should be known and accepted by anyone acting in their area (e.g. human rights legislation.) The one exception is the Alberta Societies Act. This act and its regulations set a number of requirements on SAR Alberta which would not be generally known unless the act is consulted. For this reason authorized policies set by the Societies Act will be included in the Policy Manual.

Policies set by the Alberta Society Act, its regulations, and by the Bylaws are straight forwardly set out in those documents. They need to be only indexed and referenced in the policy manual. The past versions of the Bylaws should also be indexed as they will be relevant to determining the authority for past actions in the Society.

Authorized policies created by the Membership or the Board must be clearly distinguished from policies that were considered, debated, but never authorized. Only resolutions (motions) by these groups can create a policy. Where there is no motion, no authority can be given. The motions are captured in the minutes. At the Membership and Board level, only motions will be indexed and referenced.

[edit] Who will use the Policy Manual?

The audience for the policy manual includes

  • The Board

The Board is the creator of most of the policies. It's actions are framed by the policies set at higher levels.

  • The Executive

In most areas the responsibility to implement the authorized policies is given to the Executive (President, VP, Treasurer, Secretary, Past President). The Executive may delegate these responsibilities to others. The Executive will be the people most frequently referring to the policy manual.

  • The SAR Alberta Committee members and Volunteers

The people that volunteer for SAR Alberta either for a project or as part of a committee may be delegated responsibility to work in some policy area. They will need to know the policies that have been set for their area.

  • The Bylaws and Policies Committee

The SAR Alberta Bylaws and Policies Committee has the mandate to make recommendations to the board for new policies. They will need to know what the existing policies are so they can determine how proposed new policies will fit.

  • The Membership (Member Organizations)

The members create policies (by resolutions at general meetings). They are also interested in the policies created by their elected representatives and to some degree will judge the people they've elected by the policies that have been created. The members' interaction with SAR Alberta will be framed by the policies.

  • The SAR Workers

The SAR Workers in Alberta interact with SAR Alberta as they make use of the various services that it provides. Those interactions will be framed by the policies.

[edit] Tasks

  • Survey 2 banker's boxes for material relevant to policies. (done)
  • Send Secretary survey list. (done)
  • Copy material relevant to policies. (done)
  • Get copies of missing board and general membership meeting minutes.
  • Send boxes to Secretary.
  • Write summary of what makes a policy. (done)
  • Consider how to present this work in a fashion that can be maintained with little effort.
  • Extract policies from current Society Act.
  • Extract policies from current bylaws.
    • Correlate with past bylaws.
  • Extract policies from general membership resolutions.
  • Extract policies from board resolutions.
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